Wine tasters come in all shapes, sizes and especially outlooks. We spend our fair share of time in wineries and tasting rooms and have found that many of our fellow wine tasters fall into a few distinct categories. We aren’t quite sure which category best describes us. Which kind of taster are you?
Just here for my health. For some reason, some wine tasters feel a need to justify their presence in a tasting room (beyond the obvious, that it’s fun and delicious). Many creative excuses are offered, but my favorite is that they’re here for the medicinal benefits. Really? Isn’t it enough to have a good time and meet fun people. The benefits of resveratrol are gaining credibility with doctors, but you can get a bottle of 50 capsules of resveratrol supplement for under $10. Let’s all be honest with each other: wine tasting is fun! No other excuse is required.
Wine cheerleader. A personal favorite, this type of wine taster is all about bringing new people into the fold. Their enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment of wine makes newcomers feel welcome, accepted and on the verge of something great. They make sure that the experience is fun and positive for everyone without ever noticing that it may be your first time in a winery. Every tasting room should have at least one cheerleader on site at all times!
Judgmental voyeur. Totally on the other end of the spectrum from the wine cheerleader, this type of taster is less interested in learning about new wine releases than he is in observing the many faults of the wine tasters around him. The wine may be an estate reserve, but nothing matches the haughty reserve of this expert in all things. One of these in a tasting room is one too many.
Doesn’t like anything. It is rare that I adore every single wine on a tasting menu. Some are naturally going to be more in my personal wheelhouse than others. That said, there are wine tasters that seem to take a pledge to hate EVERYTHING that is poured. This confuses me, because wine is delicious, but there is no accounting for taste. Maybe take a tasting tour at the fine craft breweries in the area instead? We are clearly wasting your time, and to quote Ozzie the Elf, “don’t harsh my mellow.”
Worried about which wine to like. Wine tasting is a personal thing, with no one wine perfect for every palate. That said, there are some wine tasters who are nervous about expressing their opinions. Some take it to the point that they never really develop a sense for their personal taste in wine. We typically go wine tasting in a group of four to six people, and it’s rare that we all agree on the “best taste” of the day. That is one of the things that we love about wine tasting: there isn’t a right or wrong answer! So relax, your tasting impressions are as relevant as anyone’s.
Divining the inner mystery of wine. This style of taster works really, really hard. Every nuance of aroma and flavor is measured and calibrated. This is not a bad thing, but sometimes a smile would be nice, too. Wine tasting is a joyful sport that rarely involves world-shattering decisions. Well, maybe deciding whether to join yet another wine club, but hey, this isn’t a quiz, having fun is encouraged.
More is better. Some wine tasters are more focused on quantity than quality. Rather than savor and appreciate each taste, this type of taster is obviously on the clock. There are only so many minutes until all the tasting rooms close, and they are on a schedule! Typically transported by party bus, these tasters swarm in, drink haphazardly through the tasting menu, and race back to their waiting limo. Buy a bottle? Why do that when there are at least 12 more wineries to visit today?
Appreciates it all. Definitely my favorite kind of wine taster. This taster welcomes new experiences and expects that some wines will be more on-target than others. Just like puppies,there is something good to be found in every wine, and these tasters are good at finding it. Not too surprisingly, these tasters are welcomed and appreciated by the tasting rooms staff and very likely to become wine club members. Everywhere. And possibly need to build a series of wine storage solutions in their home. Hmmmm, that sounds suspiciously like someone I know.
So did you recognize yourself in this list? Are there categories I missed? Let me know in the comments below!
Cheers, see you around the tasting room!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?